Our Verdict 
Not without merit, but we'd like a bit more vigour and a bit more detail
Comfortable, light and fold-away portable
unflappable, balanced sound
Relatively short on detail
prone to noise through the frame
Reviewed on

Even before they've made any kind of sound, things look good for the Bose OEs.

A relatively light headphone at just 147g including cable, they're eminently portable thanks to their pivoting ear-cups.

The appearance of two lengths (0.4m and 1.1m) of detachable cable in the package means excess-cable-misery should never be an issue, either.

The OEs' ear-pads have a single profile all the way across, rather than just running around the edge of the cup – which we find more comfortable.

Put them on, though, and the first doubts creep in – at least, they do if you've a mirror handy. The headband is almost perfectly semicircular, so with the cans in situ there's a great big gap between the band and the wearer's head above both ears – not a good look.

More after the break

Performance is a mix of pros and consSound is similarly comprised of pros and cons. With a high-bitrate file of The Orb's Perpetual Dawn playing, the OEs serve up a balanced, tidy presentation with the emphasis firmly on separation and low-frequency control.

Politely punchy and with the same restraint demonstrated at the opposite end of the frequency range, they're pretty imperturbable – even if the music you're playing is single-mindedly trying to perturb them. Integration is good, and dynamic upheavals can't ruffle proceedings.

The OEs are a little deficient where fine detail is concerned, though – the midrange, in particular, would benefit from a little more information – and, while they do well resisting thumping through their detachable cable, movement of the ear-cups at can be heard clearly.

So while they are far from a disaster, you don't have to spend very much more to do quite a bit better.

See all our headphone Best Buys

Follow whathifi.com on Twitter

Join whathifi.com on Facebook